Sunday, October 11, 2009

2 Guys Drive 300 Trucks At 70mph

So there are these two guys, going cross-country at 70mph, with 300 semi’s all at once. Well, truth in advertising forces me to say that it’s not quite that easy and I’m not being quite that honest. They are actually driving a locomotive (several hooked together) in a train that might be a mile or so long. Possibly longer if the land is level.

You can figure pretty accurately that a mile-long train can hold the equivalent, in each boxcar, of three semi-trailers. Trucks aren’t that big and rail cars aren’t that small. So there are three hundred loads rolling along at a good speed. The Missouri Blue Streak goes to Los Angeles at 70mph and has priority over all other trains.

I’ve heard people say trains have gone out of style. They should take a trip out to the Midwest where the lines are triple-tracked and each one carries a mile-long freight every twenty or thirty minutes, 24h/day. You just don’t have the local puffers with a string of cars going from Toonerville to Red Rock with the daily freight and passengers.

The Ringling Brothers circus train pulls about fifty cars (there are two such trains traveling around the country), sometimes with six locomotives on the front. The Alaska railroad may have twenty-four cars: its own, plus those of several cruise lines, the longest scheduled trains in the country.

The most scheduled trains? Metro-North in Connecticut and its affiliates around NYC. 556 trains every day with a 95% on-time rate.


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